Kerem Bulut: Former A-League player Kerem Bulut freed from prison


A former A-League player has been freed on bail after spending the last seven months in prison on a string of charges.

Fallen former A-League cult hero Kerem Bulut will be forced into a drug rehabilitation program after he was granted bail while he awaits trial for a string of allegations including two assault charges.

Bulut, 29, painted a picture of relief on Thursday afternoon after he was told that he will walk free from prison for the first time in seven months after successfully applying for bail in the NSW Supreme Court.

The former Western Sydney Wanderer player and Young Socceroos representative was arrested in March after police allegedly witnessed him assaulting another man inside his Rockdale apartment.

His solicitor attacked the strength of the crown case, arguing the allegations would be difficult to prove since they were solely relying on the testimony of the police who observed the incident from a distance.

“From 50m away I would agree that some observations will be made but the exact account of the events, the conduct and things proceeding will be difficult to establish beyond a reasonable doubt,” Mr Bulut’s lawyer Daniel Maxton told the court.

At the time he was on bail for larceny charges, with Justice Stephen Rothman describing the alleged incidents which made up those charges as “strange”.

Justice Rothman told the court that in February 2020 he snatched $500 from a friend as he was withdrawing it from an ATM.

About seven months later, the court heard, while the pair were out, the man demanded the money back.

“It’s a rather strange larceny, it seems more in the realm of a civil debt and a disputed loan,” Justice Rothman said.

He is also alleged to have assaulted his cellmate at Silverwater Prison while on remand in March earlier this year.

“I do not diminish offences in the prison system,” Justice Rothman said.

“But the prison system is a context which invites violence.

“Not that long ago I dealt with a murder committed in prison arising over whether someone was going to be a sweeper or not.

“The relationships and context of prison invite a degree of aggression that may or may not exist outside of the prison environment.”

Mr Bulut was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a person with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Police have previously said his alleged victim was taken to hospital with a broken eye socket and bruising to his head.

The prosecution opposed bail, arguing he was a flight risk and a risk of committing further offences.

However Mr Maxton successfully argued that his cases would be significantly delayed because of Covid.

Noting that the matters were unlikely to be finalised until mid next year, he said that any time spent in prison on remand could exceed a potential custodial sentence if found guilty.

Justice Rothman said Mr Bulut was an unacceptable risk of reoffending but argued it could be mitigated by the imposition of strict conditions.

He was granted bail and will be required to report to police daily, not approach his alleged victims, barred from taking drugs or consuming alcohol and ordered to take part in a drug rehabilitation program

“You understand these conditions are strict and you must engage in a rehabilitation program which frankly seems to be in everybody’s interest,” Justice Rothman said.

“I should tell you, the police will be looking out for you and a breach of bail granted by the Supreme Court has the condition that it is unlikely anyone else will grant you bail.”

“Yes I do your honour, thank you,” Mr Bulut said as he watched from Goulburn Correctional Centre via videolink.

Mr Bulut was a member of several Australian junior national teams before making his professional debut for Czech club Mladá Boleslav.

He moved back to Australia to play a handful of A-League games for the Wanderers over two stints before returning to Europe.

He was signed by Turkish side Menemen Belediye however his career came to an abrupt halt in 2018 when he was issued with a four-year ban after testing positive for cocaine during the season.

He will return to Sutherland Local Court later this month.

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